Sanford Harris is, naturally, breathing down Olivia's neck, but she still manages to find time to offer some unwanted advice to Peter, who’s been contacted by the mother of the woman who was killed in his father's lab all those years ago. Peter tries to protect Walter from meeting her, because Walter is addled at the best of times, and Peter doesn’t think Walter can handle it. Olivia tells him not to underestimate his dad, and Walter and the woman have a cathartic encounter that may bring some closure to both of them. Peter, to show his appreciation, gets drunk and shows up at Olivia’s apartment to thank her. Not sexually, though.
He hangs up the phone, and then his computer makes a little beep. A popup window reads, "WHAT'S THAT NOISE?" Intrigued, he clicks the button underneath, which I can't believe any halfway computer-savvy teenager would bother doing. The computer screen starts flashing indiscernible images. They look like negatives, or X-rays, or extreme close-ups. The kid leans in, transfixed. His eyelids start to flutter.
Mom comes in, fixing her earrings, saying they'll be back around ten, and to make sure to take "Bucky" out. The kid doesn't say anything. "You hear me?" The kid doesn't say anything. "Love you," says Mom, apparently pleased, walking off, and still THE KID DOESN'T SAY ANYTHING, like I can't even imagine how my mom would have reacted to being ignored like that.
It's becoming clear, though, that the poor guy isn't able to turn away from the screen, which is still flashing a lot of images. There's a building. There's what look like trees. Hey, is this The Blair Witch Project?
And now, a tear runs down his cheek. There's a lighthouse. A window. More tears running down his face, and over his lips, onto his chin.
And then a hand slowly pushing out from the computer screen, taking the screen with it like it's a hand pushing through some sort of stretchy plastic, towards the kid's face. He doesn't move. The hand inches closer and closer -- and then opens up and grabs the kid by the head, and he starts shaking.
After the opening credits, Olivia's playing Operation and giggling like mad with her adorable niece Ella, and they're listening to that "All The Single Ladies" song that I can't believe just won't go away yet. Rachel walks in and asks Ella if, when she brushed her teeth, she also completely dried her toothbrush. And my initial reaction was that I couldn't believe Rachel makes her kid dry her toothbrush after using it, for god's sake, and then I worried that maybe I was supposed to be doing that with MY daughter, like maybe it's a new health thing, and it took me an embarrassingly long time to realize that Ella lied about brushing her teeth.
After Ella poutily goes off to brush for real, Rachel says, "I just love being lied to." "You're a tough mother," says Olivia ("Shut your mouth!" "I'm just talkin' about Rachel!"), adding, "Ella's a sweetheart." "A lying little sweetheart," says Rachel, who then says, "She reminds me of you," only the closed-captioning awesomely says, "Would you arrest me if I killed her?" and I really think they should have gone with that original line.
Over at the Fringe lab, Peter, Walter and Astrid are hanging out, with Walter bashing Darwin for getting things wrong, and making a crack about how often his thinking was "unevolved." Peter, collecting the mail and noticing a card with Walter's name on it and nothing else, isn't really paying attention. "For a brilliant man, Darwin was occasionally a moron," says Walter, with Peter oblivious to him, too busy opening the envelope and looking at what's inside. Walter, meanwhile, is talking about Darwin's thoughts on man's propensity to sire as many offspring as possible (with all that sperm being constantly produced) while women are more selective due to their finite supply of eggs. Walter figures women can be just as aggressive as men, who can often be quite dispassionate, and you'd think a scientist like Walter would know that when you're speaking generally, specific examples don't necessarily contradict that, but anyway Peter's ignoring him, and Astrid's cellphone rings.
It's Olivia, asking Astrid to send the Bishops outside because she's sending over a body. Astrid relays the information, and Walter is giddy because he knows there's something bizarre out there, he just doesn't know what it is. "Like a grab bag of disturbing events, don't you think?" he says to Peter, whose mind is completely elsewhere. He follows Walter out the door, after crumpling up the letter and tossing it and the envelope in the trash. After they leave, Astrid, who'd noticed Peter reading the letter, retrieves it and uncrumples it.
Meanwhile, Charlie and Olivia are in Springfield interviewing the grieving parents, who want to know what could have done that to their son (and we don't know exactly what it is that they're talking about yet). The parents are baffled, since "Greg" hadn't recently changed, and didn't use drugs: "Whatever happened, Greg didn't bring it on himself," says the father. Olivia asks about pre-existing medical conditions. The mom says Greg had asthma, which was why he spent so much time on the computer, chatting with friends about girls. The detectives get a name -- Luke Dempsey -- and promise to do everything they can to find out what happened.
"Everything" seems to include Walter using a power drill on the boy's skull to bore a hole. He then enlists Peter's help to turn Greg over so they can "drain the remainder of the brain" (which falls mainly on the plain?) and then examine the cranial cavity.
Olivia comes in on her cellphone, asking someone to get her "everything [they] can." You'd think she could hold off talking to her dealer for ONE DAY. Off the phone, she tells the Bishops that Greg was a "good kid" and asks for an update on their end. Walter explains that the kid's brain was completely liquefied, and his first theory was "an extremely virulent" STD. Olivia finds that one a little much, which unfortunately leads to Walter explaining to her that safe sex is important. "You do always have your sexual partners wear a condom, I hope," says Walter. Peter gives him a warning "Walter..." but Peter clearly doesn't want to think about Olivia having sexual partners. Peter, for his part, is collecting what is presumably Greg's brain in a beaker. It's a clear fluid with the consistency of pancake syrup. I bet it tastes great on a cracker!
Olivia thinks if Greg got this from a girl or a drug, there might be a record of it on his hard drive, and she asks Astrid to check it out. Walter advises her to be sure to check his "floppy disks" too, and Peter clues him in that those are a little outdated and says Walter should stick to what he does best. Aw. I kind of miss floppy disks! Anyway, Peter presents Walter with his liquid brains, and Walter gleefully goes to get his bone saw.
Meanwhile, Astrid tells Olivia that "the hard drive platters must be fused." Olivia asks if she's sure. "Linguistics major, computer science minor," says Astrid, adding that she's also been taking computers apart since she was "like, six." I sure hope Astrid won't just continue to have luckily studied whatever specific skills the Fringe team needs ("Linguistics major, taxidermy minor"). Olivia asks if she can pull anything off it, and Astrid says she'll give it a shot with some "aggressive data-recovery techniques," which is presumably violence coupled with cursing.
Meanwhile, Olivia heads over to a mechanic's shop where Luke Dempsey works. She asks a guy outside for Luke Dempsey, and he waves her in (and then checks her out as she goes).
Inside, Luke is raising a car on a lift when Olivia introduces herself. Over in a quieter area of the garage, Luke says he was just IMing with Greg last night. He asks what happened to Greg, and Olivia says they don't really know. She asks Luke what they talked about. "A bunch of stuff. I got him a deal on a split rear exhaust for his '93 GT." Luke gets a little choked up as he recalls that Greg just stopped answering his messages last night. "I figured he fell asleep," he says. Olivia asks how they met, and Luke says their dads worked together when they were kids, and